Writing the Past - 2016

This unit contains mature content including Adult Themes and may not be suitable for some students.
Any student under the age of 16 who would like to enrol in this unit must first complete a Parental Consent Form.

Unit summary


  • Level of Study: Undergraduate Level 3
  • Study load: 0.125 EFTSL
  • Delivery method: Fully Online
  • Prerequisites: Yes
  • Duration: 13 weeks
  • Government loans available: FEE-HELP, HECS-HELP
  • Availability for 2016: SP2
  • Assessment: Exercises - Reflection exercise (20%) , Project Report 1 - Major writing project (45%) - Learn more

Unit provided by

2016 Fees
Domestic 782.00
HECS 782.00
International 1,032.00

This unit explores issues in the writing and representation of the past and provides a practical introduction to different genres and forms of history and memory writing. It covers a range of topics including memoir and life writing, journeys into the past, local history, biography and historical fiction.

It includes practical work on craft skills such as characterisation, dialogue, the representation of place and atmosphere, and considers the ethics of representation. Students have the opportunity to create a major piece of written work on an aspect of the past in a genre of their choice.

Please Note:  If it’s your first time studying a Curtin University unit you’ll need to complete their compulsory ‘Academic Integrity Program’. It only takes two hours to complete online, and provides you with vital information about studying with Curtin University. The Academic Integrity Program is compulsory, so if it’s not completed your unit grades will be withheld.

Find out more about the Academic Integrity module.

At the completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. identify and describe the characteristics and conventions of history and memory writing
  2. design and create a new work that applies the generic characteristics and conventions of history and memory writing.
  3. critique and evaluate history and memory writing texts, peer creative production and personal creative practice
  4. analyse the range of ethical and cross-cultural issues involved in writing creatively about the past.
  • Exercises — Reflection exercise (20%)
  • Project Report 1 — Major writing project (45%)
  • Project Report 2 — Minor writing project (20%)
  • Proposal — Major project proposal (15%)

Mandatory prerequisites

You must have successfully completed the following unit(s) before starting this unit:

If you have completed equivalent study at another university, please contact a Student Advisor for advice.

  • Broadband access

This unit addresses the following topics.

1Challenges of writing about the past
2Memory and forgetting
3Auto-ethnography and past writing
4Ways of researching the past
5Historical fiction
6Realism in writing history
7Family history
8People and places: characterisation in writing about the past
9Travels back in time: writing the journey
10Heroes, legends and their gatekeepers
11*Note: Topics are sometimes altered in response to student feedback and to reflect changes and new information in the field.

This unit is delivered using the following methods and materials:

Instructional Methods

  • Blogs
  • Chat rooms
  • Discussion Forum/Discussion Board
  • Online assignment submission
  • Podcasting/Lecture capture
  • Standard Media
  • Web links
  • Wikis

This unit is part of a major, minor, stream or specialisation in the following courses:

This unit may be eligible for credit towards other courses:

  1. Many undergraduate courses on offer through OUA include 'open elective' where any OUA unit can be credited to the course. You need to check the Award Requirements on the course page for the number of allowed open electives and any level limitations.
  2. In other cases, the content of this unit might be relevant to a course on offer through OUA or elsewhere. In order to receive credit for this unit in the course you will need to supply the provider institution with a copy of the Unit Profile in the approved format, which you can download here. Note that the Unit Profile is set at the start of the year, and if textbooks change this may not match the Co-Op textbook list.
This unit does not have a prescribed textbook(s).

Enquire online

Need to ask a question that's best put down in words?
Make an online enquiry.

Enquire now

Ready to enrol?

Start studying this unit now.


Got a question?

Get an answer from one of our friendly Student Advisors.